So, after this long trip overseas parading myself as a professional, working musician, I am back in the States and decided to spend this past weekend down at the beach in Jersey. It was lovely for me
to hang down there with such ridiculous weather, strolling the streets in flip-flops when, just a couple weeks ago, I was layered up and still chilly in Scandinavia.
So, this past Sunday, I was reminded of why so many of us take pride in being such a music-minded area. Starting in downtown Asbury Park for a late lunch, I encountered a couple of shows at the Twisted
Tree. (I also encountered a nice coconut and curry garbanzo bean soup.) Jo Wymer, local blues singer, had organized a show for some of her students so the place was packed with a lot of high school-aged
kids toting guitars singing a mix-up of songs.
Following Jo's crew of talent was the one and only Patti Bramson. Patti and I go way back to the Internet Cafe and the open mic I hosted there for several years. (That Sunday show is deeply missed by
so many since the cafe closed.) Patti could hush a room so effortlessly with her soft and impactful voice and understated guitar playing. On this day, she had a pair of players with her and dobro and mandolin
and, when Patti plays, she goes through lots of older tunes, John Prine and Blind Faith. It's quieting and wonderful. I hadn't seen her in years so and it was a nice surprise.
She told me that after her gig she was going to make her way over to see Michael Brett and Pat Guadano over at Rosie's Cafe (myspace.com/rosiescafeconcerts),
a cool little songwriters' series a few blocks out of the downtown area at the Atonement Lutheran Church at First Avenue and Heck Street. Unfortunately, I missed Mr. Brett, but Pat Guadano is just unforgettable.
You can listen to so many singers down along the Jersey coastline and once you hear Pat sing, you'll know that so many of them are emulating him.
Pat does so much. He runs a really big Dylan show that has gone from the Downtown Cafe all the way to the Two River Theatre. He works most of the week, playing music in a variety of clubs and bars and
no one can keep up with him. In this setting, at Rosie's, it was quiet and perfect, no clinking glasses, no drunken loud patrons to compete with, just Pat's passionate voice and intricate fingerpicking.
And they gave me a plate of meatballs to eat while I listened. :)
So, after all this music, I make a quick little stop at the Inkwell in Long Branch for a snack and a few hellos and then it was up to Red Bank where Rob Dye has been hosting the Sunday Night jam session
for many years. It used to be, that after the Internet Cafe open mic would close for the night on the earlier side, it was time to head right across the street to the Downtown Cafe where Rob's show used
to be held. A couple locations later, and it is running strong over at Jamian's on Monmouth Street.
This is another show that you can walk into and see a lot of musicians that you know, like Dave Tucker or Matt O'Ree, that are out and about, running around this area and the country, staying busy and
playing lots of music. Busy sidemen and songwriters will end up onstage with beginners and everyone digs it. It's a great show and was a perfect cap to a day and a night filled with reminders of where it
is I come from, and why so many people move down to the shore to be a part of our little music scene.
Questions? Comments? Email me at [email protected].